Building one good habit will help to build others over time.
Recently, as a programmer I noticed that my typing speed is not fast enough (quite above average but not personally satisfied enough). So I decided to do some research in order to find a good website to practice code typing which is quite different from usual text typing as you must include a lot a symbols and special characters while handling auto completion.
I found some useful websites like Speecoder specific for this task. After a few sessions, I got used to type quite fast the symbols that you often type when coding. But then I came across keybr.com which I really recommend to practice typing: it tracks all your progress and the generated texts are based on your performance (the more mistakes you made with a certain pattern, the more often it will come back).
I then realized from reading the website introduction that I didn't actually know how to really type in the right conventional way.
I used to type using a lot of the time both my index fingers to cover a wide range of the keyboard keys. This typing method has its limit since you don't make use of all your fingers, it's like trying to play piano with only half of your fingers. I then found out that there is something called the Touch Typing.
Basically I used to look at a lot my keyboard when I type, but learning how to Touch Typing will make you type faster and you won't look at your keyboard anymore, even for some special characters that you don't used to typing often.
I was so used to typing randomly with my index fingers while looking at my keyboard that the first time I've tried the Touch Typing method feels so weird and uncomfortable. So I needed to forget what I used to know about the way of typing, and just try to follow rigorously the Touch Typing method by pressing every single keyboard key with the proper associated finger. Practicing 5-10 minutes everyday in the morning for a month before starting to work helps to increase my typing speed from ~50-60 to around ~90 words per minute (best score at around 110 words).
While practicing how to type, I felt kind of a sense of satisfaction to see all the words popping up on the screen without me having to endlessly and tirelessly look at the keyboard and press multiple times the Backspace key.
This leads me to wanting to type and write more and more sentences. Writing code is not a continuous process where you only focus on the typing part, but you also have to test the code and see how it impacts on the application you're making, so it really slows you down if you really want to focus on typing.
From this point, I start to write thorough documentations for the code, as well as writing detailed Git Pull Requests contents explaining what features I've built. Even though I'm the only one behind all my projects and products, I leave in-depth explanations on what I've built so that I can remember later why I took such decisions for that specific code block or features. Also, if one day I decide to onboard someone or share my code base to freelancers to outsource some features implementation, it will be much more easier for them to understand.
Since documenting the code doesn't fulfill my thirst for writing (actually typing 😂), I decided to give myself a try to build and to start blogging.
Actually, 3 years ago I used to blog about my pet/side programming projects (filipyoo.com), but each blog post that I write required me to start and (to a certain point) finish a complete project from scratch in order to produce detailed technical blog post. That was kind of exhausting and required a lot of time and won't be sustainable in a long run, so I lost the motivation to keep up writing.
But with this blog, I will be able to talk about anything I want related to my subjects of interest (programming, entrepreneurship, process of building products, learning foreign languages etc..), so the words will come out easily and I can keep up with the pace.
I start to realize that the more I write (using the Touch Typing method), the faster I type and the more I want to type/write. Along this process, my written communication skill also gets improved and I decided to also write a little more on other community platform (like Quora).
This feeling is so satisfying because it becomes a virtuous circle.
It's like programming: when I started I sucked at it and hated it, but the better I become, the more code I want to write and the better I then become.
I can also relate that to another field: my hate/love relationship with the Chinese language. At first I didn't like it, because everything sounds the same to my ears, sentences are so overwhelmed by characters. But the more I forced myself to learn the basics so I can tackle more interesting intermediate level parts, the more I get a sense of self-satisfaction of being able to understand and output some basic Chinese. From there I can no longer stop absorb as much as I can Chinese by watching Chinese TV shows or listening to Chinese songs.
Maybe in a few years this little blog that I started just for the sake of improving my typing/writing will help me bring massive organic traffic to my products (as an organic promotion channel). Then when I will look back and read this blog post, I will realize that any big achievement has a small starting point where you try to make some tedious process/tasks in your life better. This applies to giant tech companies that started as a small startup trying to fix or improve one single thing at a time.
© 2020, Philippe Khin